Mommy Makeovers: Getting Past Guilt & Loving Your Post-Baby Body

mommy makeover with babyCarrying around a baby bump is a beautiful rite of passage for mothers-to-be. Strangers feel inclined to pat a pregnant woman’s belly for good luck. Friends and family enthusiastically comment, “You look GREAT!” Husbands rejoice as bra cup size swells with all the hormonal changes taking place. However, it’s another story when one still looks four months pregnant a year after giving birth, and when breasts deflate like popped balloons after months of breastfeeding.

Transition to motherhood is harder for some

Every woman’s body responds to the dramatic changes of pregnancy differently, but the toll can have a dramatic effect, especially considering the higher standards women are often held to. Writing for Lifezette, Erin Croyle explains it this way: “I’ve heard husbands talk about how hot their wives ‘used to be.’ I’ve heard moms question other moms with cattiness: ‘Is that really baby weight you’re trying to lose?’ The pressure on women to look as if they’ve never had a child is relentless.”

Bodies do not always simply “bounce back” with diet and exercise

As a plastic surgeon and mother of three children, Dr. B. Aviva Preminger is especially sensitive to the needs of fellow parents.

“Many, if not most, women give up focusing on themselves during and after pregnancy,” Dr. Preminger explains. “Not only does pregnancy and childbirth take a toll on a woman’s body, but so does having young children with no time to focus on yourself. Some of the changes can be corrected with diet and exercise, but many women have problem areas that can only be corrected with surgery.”

Examples include severe rectus diastasis, separation of the abdominal muscles and labial hypertrophy, she explains.

The “Mommy Makeover” – as it’s called – can mean different things, but typically it refers to a trio of procedures that includes breast enhancement, liposuction and tummy tuck. Breast options range from implants and lifts to reductions and fat transfers. Labiaplasty to restore sexual functioning, skin care, wrinkle treatments like fillers or Botox can also be added in the suite of procedures to help a mother feel good about herself again. Typically, the procedures can safely be done at once to minimize recovery time.

Guilt takes its toll on selfless mothers

“It’s a hard decision to come to for many women,” says Dr. Preminger. “They feel guilty taking time for themselves, they worry about who is going to take care of their children while they recover, and they worry about the risks of surgery.”

There are several ways to minimize risk and make the best possible decision, she adds:

  • First, choose a board-certified plastic surgeon who has extensive experience with the procedures.
  • Secondly, make sure the surgery will be performed in a fully-accredited facility equipped for emergencies.
  • Bring any questions or concerns to the pre-surgery consultation and fully disclose all medical history.
  • Invite your spouse to the consultation to understand the process and be supportive.
  • Make arrangements to have family and friends around to lend a hand during the recovery period.

Beyond physical concerns, some women do not feel comfortable investing in themselves. Yet, what price can one put on renewed self-esteem and confidence? Dr. Preminger has met with a number of women who admit to crying often about their changing bodies and feeling awful that investments in dieting and exercising led them to dead ends. Ultimately, feeling good about oneself enables a woman to be her best for her partner and her children.

Mothers use their experiences to teach important life lessons

Mothers often worry about the message they’ll be sending their children when they take the surgery route.

“It was a repair, not an enhancement, and that’s what I tell my daughters and will tell my granddaughters,” one woman explained to Lifezette Magazine.

Another woman said she will spend time teaching her children that inner beauty is far more important that outer beauty, but it helps to feel good about yourself in every way possible.

The reality is that there is not such a stigma attached to plastic surgery as there once was. Breast augmentation is not something that only people in the sex industry or celebrities do. Last year, there were 286,254 procedures done, making breast augmentation the top cosmetic surgical procedure for the ninth year in a row. Reviews posted on sites like RealSelf.com show that people from all walks of life opt for procedures like breast augmentation and liposuction for a myriad of personal reasons.

For more information on Mommy Makeovers in Manhattan, contact Dr. B. Aviva Preminger at 212-706-1900.